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  1. #41
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    sometimes i take portraits of people ...
    the close friends, even the person who i took the portrait of says " who is that ?!'
    it doesn't look like or resemble them at all. it wasn't me, i just pushed the button ... it was the camera.
    it isn't hard to create a new reality with a camera, based of the shimmer of our own reality
    This has been a regular occurrence in my work too, one I even cultivate.

    I think part of it is that the way we are, and the way we think we are, and the way the photographer wants to portray us; doesn't normally match. A portrait is many times a struggle of wills.

    http://www.karsh.org/#/the_work/port...ston_churchill

    Karsh's portrait of Churchill is a case in point. Churchill wanted one thing, Karsh another, Karsh won.

    Several years after my mom died my dad married a nice lady named Mary. Getting a good portrait of Mary was a real struggle, she had the weirdest "say cheese face" that she instantly put on any time a camera was pointed her way, and she was good at spotting any camera. I did finally get a good one of her and my dad during the festivities around my son's wedding. Surprisingly it happened in my studio as the primary subject, surrounded by a full studio set during the rehearsal party. I had my dad spin her as if they were dancing and for once she was caught as most around her saw her.
    Last edited by markbarendt; 06-08-2014 at 03:33 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  2. #42
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    This has been a regular occurrence in my work too, one I even cultivate.

    I think part of it is that the way we are, and the way we think we are, and the way the photographer wants to portray us; doesn't normally match. A portrait is many times a struggle of wills.

    http://www.karsh.org/#/the_work/port...ston_churchill

    Karsh's portrait of Churchill is a case in point. Churchill wanted one thing, Karsh another, Karsh won.

    Several years after my mom died my dad married a nice lady named Mary. Getting a good portrait of Mary was a real struggle, she had the weirdest "say cheese face" that she instantly put on any time a camera was pointed her way, and she was good at spotting any camera. I did finally get a good one of her and my dad during the festivities around my son's wedding. Surprisingly it happened in my studio as the primary subject, surrounded by a full studio kiting set during the rehearsal party. I had my dad spin her as if they were dancing and for once she was caught as most around her saw her.
    Fun story, this is when a fast camera is needed... when people change faces on you, you have to have a quick shot before they catch you... So difficult.

    I use Steichen's portrait of Churchill from 1932 as a profile icon on a site somewhere...

  3. #43
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Fun story, this is when a fast camera is needed... when people change faces on you, you have to have a quick shot before they catch you... So difficult.
    When shooting candids you are right Bill but candid isn't necessary.

    Actually both Karsh's example and mine are true formal portraits: fully contrived setups, not in any way candid, nor taken on the sly; our subjects knew darn well what was going on and had to physically step into the situation/scene/setup willingly. In both examples the subjects were being directed/coerced/manipulated into providing something they didn't necessarily want to give.

    I admittedly was using a fast modern camera, but like Karsh, the camera was mounted firmly on a tripod with everything manually set, I was using a remote to fire the shutter, also probably like Karsh, and to have the lighting and focusing work in my shot there was maybe a 2'x3' box that my subjects needed to stay in, Karsh's limits were probably similar.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #44

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    My favorite portrait of Churchill is the one with him facing away from the camera seated before what appears to be a pond. Even though we cannot see the face one instantly recognizes the figure as that of Churchill. I don't know whether this is because of the will of the subject or the skill of the photographer.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  5. #45

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    Had you only ever read or heard of Churchill, but never seen a picture of him before that one, would he have been instantly recognisable?

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    This has been a regular occurrence in my work too, one I even cultivate.

    I think part of it is that the way we are, and the way we think we are, and the way the photographer wants to portray us; doesn't normally match. A portrait is many times a struggle of wills.

    http://www.karsh.org/#/the_work/port...ston_churchill

    Karsh's portrait of Churchill is a case in point. Churchill wanted one thing, Karsh another, Karsh won.

    Several years after my mom died my dad married a nice lady named Mary. Getting a good portrait of Mary was a real struggle, she had the weirdest "say cheese face" that she instantly put on any time a camera was pointed her way, and she was good at spotting any camera. I did finally get a good one of her and my dad during the festivities around my son's wedding. Surprisingly it happened in my studio as the primary subject, surrounded by a full studio kiting set during the rehearsal party. I had my dad spin her as if they were dancing and for once she was caught as most around her saw her.

    hi mark

    i know what you mean, sometimes a portrait is a dance, an orchestration between the photographer and the person being photographed
    but im not so much suggesting in my last comment that i did anything different other than take a photograph ..
    i didn't make the person act or look any differently than the way she acted, no hidden emotion, no hidden side of them ..
    just photographed from a "different angle" and the way she had been recognized or understood had been erased.
    and SHE didn't even know who she was, another time when i was photographing a university dean for a local paper
    the people at work said " who is THAT !? , they even had PR photos, and stock photos of the same person. maybe it has to do with perception of who we THINK someone is, who we THINK we are and how we are supposed to be / act

    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    Had you only ever read or heard of Churchill, but never seen a picture of him before that one, would he have been instantly recognisable?
    hi pdeeh

    while i was going to say ...isn't someone only recognizable if you know who they are ?
    i realize now that if we only know-of someone, sometimes one can imagine the face with the voice,
    but i don't have that gift. ..
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  7. #47
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    maybe it has to do with perception of who we THINK someone is, who we THINK we are and how we are supposed to be / act
    I think that is a big chunk of it John.

    That is an expression of the thought that a portrait is always a portrait of two people; the subject and the photographer.

    This was an idea that took me a long time to understand/get used to/get comfortable with.

    Essentially, if you and I are given the same subject to photograph and we are allowed to get to know it/them and photograph it/them separately as we please, it is IMO almost a given that we would end up with very different results.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    Had you only ever read or heard of Churchill, but never seen a picture of him before that one, would he have been instantly recognisable?
    Probably not for "millenials" who seem to be ignorant of just about everything. I think of them as pod people which they will probably not understand either.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #49

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    Such contempt is unworthy of you, Gerald.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I think that is a big chunk of it John.

    That is an expression of the thought that a portrait is always a portrait of two people; the subject and the photographer.

    This was an idea that took me a long time to understand/get used to/get comfortable with.

    Essentially, if you and I are given the same subject to photograph and we are allowed to get to know it/them and photograph it/them separately as we please, it is IMO almost a given that we would end up with very different results.
    but i see that as half of it mark.
    i realize 2 people will make 2 vastly different portraits
    its all about letting in ...
    but the sitter ( and friends/family ) not even recognizing him/herself ...
    maybe that is a bit drastic ...


    gerald

    while i don't think millenials are pod people ( at this point, i don't know what to think, maybe we all are )
    i know many people have no social graces, etiquette
    social skills, would make most people's grandmother's blush,
    be polite, don't know how to have a conversation "in person"
    or even be with someone "in person" or "be present" ... and i wonder if in a handful of years
    if "people" will have to text eachother at negotiations
    or meetings ... i find it strange that people who go out and have dinner/drinks with eachother
    can't even have a conversation with eachother, but are busy texting and being "digital" instead of the "here+now" we live in a very surreal world at the moment where people's priorities are
    askew, people are adrift and their grasp of reality is only what they are "fed" by "the stream"

    then again, maybe they already know the answer, that in fact it is ALL an illusion and nothing is real unless it is
    indexed on the internet or by their cellphone provider ... as mr snoewedeen has shown so many of us ... maybe it is part of the matrix ?
    Last edited by jnanian; 06-08-2014 at 05:08 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: yeah i know i speeled his naamee rong
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
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